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BPI waives interbank transfer fees until end-September

Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) on Thursday announced it would not charge transfer fees for small transactions made through its new mobile application until the end of September.

In an advisory, BPI said it would waive transfer fees for InstaPay transfers of up to P1,000 from July 5 to September 30, 2023, as it called on clients to move to its new application launched in April. The earlier version of the application is set to be phased out by the end of the year.

"We encourage our clients to take advantage of the new BPI app and transfer up to P1,000 via InstaPay for free to fully enjoy and maximize the benefits of digital banking," BPI consumer platforms head Fitzgerald Chee said.

"As the oldest bank in the Philippines, we are committed to staying ahead of the curve to continuously deliver better, real value for our clients," he added.

Launched in April 2018, InstaPay is an electronic fund transfer (EFT) payment system that enables individuals to wire funds across banks in real time.

In April, BPI president Jose Teodoro "TG" Limcaoco said the bank was open to cutting the interbank transfer fees for small-value fund transfers, but it would be difficult to totally remove them as transactions come with costs.

Former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla said in February that the central bank was ready to work with the banking industry to incentivize more Filipinos to use digital payments and eliminate fees on small-value fund transfers.

He then said that a P15 fee — charged by a number of banks for interbank transfers — for a P200 transaction would be "quite large" relative to the amount being sent.

On June 30, the BSP trimmed the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) or the amount of cash a bank must hold in its reserves against deposits made by customers in the country, for big banks by 250 basis points to 9.5%. —VBL, GMA Integrated News